New Goals

Now that my photo shoot is over and I’m somewhat settling back into life in the United States (although I am currently awaiting yet another big transition in life), I think it’s time I set some new goals for myself.  I think it’s very important for me to continue setting goals so that I can map out a plan for myself to stick to.  I can’t just wander aimlessly through a diet and training program.  I need a solid plan with a final goal.  Unfortunately, I’m horrible at setting concrete and measurable goals in regards to my body.  I don’t care how much I weigh and I don’t know how many inches I want to add or lose in certain places.  I like to just work with what I see in the mirror.  Numbers are irrelevant to me unless they are calories.

So what are my goals?  Well, I’ve decided that I want to build my shoulders and glutes a little bit more.  I really like broad, nicely capped shoulders.  I think they are an immediate signal to strangers that you put extra work into your physique.  And regarding the glutes, who doesn’t want an amazing badunk-a-dunk?  I notice that whenever I diet down my butt gets a little bit flat, so the only cure for that is more muscle!

These goals are going to require a surplus in calories and some extra heavy lifting.  Thus, I’m going to have to say bye-bye to abs for a while.  It’s really hard to willingly give something up that you worked so hard for.  During this mini-bulk/recomp I’ll probably put on a little bit of fat, but that’s the price I’ll have to pay for more muscle.  Once I’m happy with the amount of muscle I’ve put on or I’m fed up with the amount of fat I’ve added, I’ll cut again.  At least I’ll have more calories to work with during the holidays and any extra flub will be hidden under cozy winter clothes.  I plan on taking it slow because I’m a bit paranoid about putting on fat (in case you couldn’t tell).  I’ve never been a “skinny” girl so I want to keep any fat gain under control.  It’s so easy to put on but it’s so hard to strip off.

Wish me luck!  It’s not the training and extra eating that will be difficult.  It’s the psychological response I’ll have to putting on weight and not knowing exactly if it’s muscle, fat, water, or whatnot. Good luck to you all in meeting your goals!  And if you don’t have any you better go ahead and set some!  Otherwise, you’ll just be spinning your wheels forever and ever.  Trust me…I know.

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Times of Transition

I would like to apologize to both you and myself for not writing as consistently within the past month or so.  My husband and I have been traveling and transitioning, so it has been hard for me to grab a moment and collect my thoughts.  We spent about a week traveling around Ireland and Scotland and shortly after that we moved back from London to New York.  (How cosmopolitan do we sound? Geesh… Don’t be fooled.) A couple of days after our move back to New York, we drove down to North Carolina to pick up our dog, Tiki, and we spent a couple of days there with my parents.

Tiki and I reunited after nearly a year apart!

So needless to say, it’s been a very difficult month for proper nutrition and training.  Unfortunately, my body looks soooo different now than it does in my photos and it’s kind of depressing!  I mean, I do realize that I should give myself a break and not be so hard on myself since this last month has been pretty wacky, but I’m not always 100% sensible.  It’s hard to have your body just where you want it….and then you just lose it.  It makes you feel out of control and it doesn’t feel good.  I make it sound like I’ve become obese over the last month….well, it’s not THAT bad!  I’m just softer at the moment.  My muscles are just hiding out!  I’m retaining a lot of water from the additional calories and carbs and may have put on a smidgen of fat, so my rational-self knows that all is not lost!  And besides, it’s not like I’m prepping for something right now.  I don’t have a photo shoot or competition in the pipeline, so there’s no reason I should feel pressure to be perfect.  

After our trip to Ireland and Scotland (where we really just let loose and ate whatever came our way), we tried to tighten things up a bit.  Yes, we had last dinners and parties with our friends in London, but we kept up with our workouts and ate our normal meals when we could.  Since moving to New York, we’ve had to be a bit more creative with our workouts because we haven’t obtained a gym membership yet.  There’s a park nearby that we’ve done sprints in and they have pull-up bars for us to play on.  So we’ve been doing a lot of pull-ups and push-ups.  We’ve also been doing some longer distance runs (3+ miles) in both New York and North Carolina.  (The hilly roads near my parents’ house are absolutely BRUTAL!)  So anyways, we’ve been doing what we can.

Now we are back in New York for about a month, so life will be relatively normal for a while.  A friend of my husband’s family has hooked us up with some passes to the YMCA, which we are extremely grateful for.  I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some iron again!  This morning we did some sprints and pull-ups in the park and I might do some work with the dumbbells that we have on hand this afternoon.  Training is actually going to be pretty hot and heavy this month because my husband is preparing to go back into the Army as an Officer.  I’m taking this opportunity to do some extra training with him and kick-start the reduction of this transition-time-weight-gain.

I’m happy that life is going to normalize for a while.  I’m definitely a creature of habit.  Sure, it’s fun to take a break for a while, but I can only handle that for about a week before I start becoming depressed and longing for my typical lifestyle.  I can honestly say that I NEVER get tired of my morning egg whites and oatmeal.  I do think that we all need to remember one thing though, and that is:

Life happens and sometimes there are more important things to worry about besides nutrition and training! Just do the best that you can with the circumstances that have been given to you!

Just Starting Out?

So you’ve finally decided that strong is the new sexy and you want to start lifting heavy, but you just don’t know where to begin.  I am often asked by both men and women about how to get started with weight training, so here is an overview!  I’m not going to spoon feed you a specific training routine or diet because they both need to be catered to the individual, but instead I’m going to help you help yourself.  After all, that’s how I did it.

  1. Find a training routine.  This is probably the most obvious part of the equation, but people often have a hard time knowing where to find this.  It’s very important to find a quality routine written by a professional.  Don’t do this yourself unless you’ve been training for several years and have an idea of what you’re doing.  Believe it or not, but there’s an art to writing training splits.  Some places where you can find quality training splits are:

Bodybuilding.com: You can spend hours at a time reading the articles on this website.  There are also tons of training programs you can follow.  I learned A LOT from this website.

-Books: The New Rules of Lifting, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, Starting Strength, these are just a few popular books.  There are tons out there.  Check some out at your local library!

-Internet: Some really popular programs that you can find online that are free are Max-OT, Stronglifts, PHAT, and so on.

-Magazines: Oxygen and Muscle and Fitness Hers (or even his!).

-Hire a trainer:  There’s nothing wrong with hiring a trainer.  This stuff isn’t easy!  I’ve hired a couple of trainers in the past, albeit, they were online trainers, but they outlined training and nutrition programs for me.  I gained A LOT from them and I have learned what works and what doesn’t work for me.

2. Schedule it in.  Make a date with yourself that you won’t break.  Put your workouts on your calendar until you know you will definitely not skip it.  I go very early in the morning.  No excuses (unless I’m dying in bed with an illness or it’s a scheduled week off for me).  I have absolutely nothing else to do at 5:30 am, so there is no reason I shouldn’t be going to the gym.  If it’s important to you, you will find or make time for it.  If your excuse for not going in the morning is “Ohhh…but I need my 8 hours of sleep”, then I ask “Why not go to bed earlier? Or, why not go at night?”  Frankly, there are no excuses.

3. Gradually “clean” up your diet.  You aren’t going to notice any results if you don’t change the way you eat.  I wouldn’t suggest going from all horrible, processed foods to all healthy, clean alternatives overnight.  You might find that to be way too overwhelming and throw in the towel before giving this new lifestyle a chance.  Stop eating garbage and start eating good, natural food.

If you’re looking for something right now, my idol Jamie Eason has just come out with a 12 week training video series on www.bodybuilding.com.  She’ll tell you what to eat, how to train, and what supplements to take.  This training series will be released August 16th.  That’s this Tuesday!  If you’re interested, check out this link: Jamie Eason’s LiveFit 12 Week Trainer.

And those are the basics!  Now obviously, stating them is easier than putting them to practice, but you don’t need to be perfect right off the bat.  Like I say a lot, this is a lifestyle and these changes take time.  But you’ve got this….I know you do.